Thursday, October 20, 2016

Horror Countdown 2016: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994) dir. Kim Henkel, Genre Pictures/Return Productions/Ultra Muchos Productions

We have a new addition to the lineup this year. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series was a mixed bag, with scare and groans aplenty. By the time number 4 was made (or escaped; the story behind the film is one filled with so many lawsuits and convoluted legal figuring the making of would have made a better film), the 90's were not totally conductive to the slasher genre.

Heather (Lisa Marie Newmyer) is a just a teenager in love with her boyfriend Barry (Tyler Cone). Shame that she catches Barry in a compromised position with another gal. Storming out of the prom and taking Barry's car (his father's actually), the pair rocket down the backroads. Jenny (Rene Zellweger) and Sean (John Harrison) are two geeks who decided the best place to hang out the backseat of a 1970 Lincoln Continental.

The stress, dark and the unexpected guests shock Heather enough into crashing the car into another car. With the another driver out cold, Sean is elected to stay with him while the others find help. Finding a real estate office with the lights on, they ask agent Darla Slaughter (Tonie Perensky) to call a tow truck and hospital. Darla happily agrees, but the tower Vilmer (Matthew McConaughey) is clearly crazy. How crazy? He pronounces the other driver dead. When Sean argues that the driver is alive, Vilmer breaks the kid's neck before running Sean over.

Taking the remaining three teens back home (their home that is) we move into the standard killer cannibal house dinner. We also see the rest of the family. There's W.E. (Joe Stevens), Leatherface (Robert Jacks), and Grandpa (Grayson Victor Shirmacher). Barry is quickly dispatched while Heather is made to hang around.

That leaves Jenny, who quickly escapes. Heading back to the real estate office, she quickly finds Darla is with the family; however, she has to be. She has a chip in her head you know. She also explains that the family can't be caught. Not because they're so good at covering their tracks (Vilmer kind of stands out) but they work for someone (implied to be the Illuminati) who covers everything up. When Rothman (James Gale) shows up the next day, he's quite disappointed in how the family is behaving...

It's different? Jenny is both too smart and too stupid. She keeps escaping from the family, but she does something dumb and gets brought back. Zellweger and McConaughey are fine, but they are the only ones who walk out of this with anything resembling dignity and that's not saying much. The whole 'ancient conspiracy' angle is just dumb and raises too many questions.

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